IN A recent edition, I wrote about faith and critical thinking. Some Ghanaian atheists or humanists go about blaming Africa’s underdevelopment on Christianity and other faiths. They argue that faith and worship of God impairs reasoning and creativity, and that people should stop believing in God and use their minds to solve problems without providing empirical evidence to buttress their claim.
In their blasphemous outburst, this tiniest group of people with acidic tongues denigrate the Bible, mock the existence of Jesus Christ and ridicule people of faith, especially African Christians. They create the impression that Christians lack creative abilities to contribute to the development of the country. In other words, they seem to suggest that they are capable of using their minds to create things for the economic development of the continent.
It is a fact that a greater percentage of Africans are religious with many of them practicing Christianity, but there are also thousands of them who are non-Christians. Many belong to other faiths. In fact, Ghanaians were religious people long before Christianity was sustainably introduced to them in 1828 as they worshipped God, the Supreme Being, through the lesser gods. Indeed, atheism in Africa appears to be as foreign as Christianity and other faiths.
Even today, a good number of Ghanaians are adherents of African Religion. Thus Prof. J. S. Mbiti writes, “Many people in fact follow a combination of African Religion and Christianity, some of African Religion and Islam, and a few of Christianity and Islam…We should take note the fact that African Religion is now moving into towns and cities in certain forms” (Introduction to African Religion, p.192).
Now, what was the state of economic and technological development in Ghana when Christianity was first introduced into Ghana? Are there verifiable facts to prove that the introduction of the Christian faith undermined creative or innovative abilities of Ghanaians? Interestingly, however, Christian missionaries, according to Dr. Makafui M. Tayviah, “established plantations for the growing of cash crops like cocoa, coffee, tea, rubber and cotton in the country.”
Dr. Tayviah who is a Ghanaian scholar and lecturer adds that, “The Christian missionaries also built more infrastructures like medical facilities, transport and communication networks, established mission schools in various parts of the country, introduced education to the people, brought new technology to Africa and provided tools for farming.”
Now, the question is: does the Christian faith impairs creativity or improves it? African atheists or humanists claim to be free thinkers. But how are they, by their free thinking, practically contributing to the development of Africa apart from firing polemics here and there to despise Christianity through the media? What are the evidences of their creativity and inventions that are addressing the plight of the poor? What is so remarkable about them apart from talking aplenty to provide no solution to fill a lacuna in the national economy?
However, there are many Christians with great creative and innovative minds, working as engineers, farmers, virologists, medical practitioners, academicians, business men and women, architects, lawyers and even inventors, thereby contributing to the socio-economic development of Africa.
One example that can be cited is Ing. Emmanuel Wireko-Brobby, the head of the Electrical Engineering Unit under the Technical Services Directorate of the Komfo Anokye Teaching Hospital (KATH) in Kumasi. He is a Christian minister serving God and humanity as an Evangelist in Grace Baptist Church at Amakom, Kumasi.
His faith in God did not weaken his ability to dream, reason and innovate; Ing. Wireko-Brobby, a product of the Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology (KNUST) in Kumasi, has single-handedly manufactured more than 10 medical equipment including theatre lamp, wheelchair, patient bed and x-ray viewer.
Other things he has produced are snellen viewer, radiant warmer (a phototherapy device), drip stand, prosthetic arm, water purity tester, screen leg crutch and hand cleanser which are branded as Wirbtech products. Currently, he is researching into renewable energy for electrical power generation. This makes the assertion that faith or religion impairs reasoning and creative abilities of believers as baseless and senseless.
Ing. Wireko-Brobby’s challenge now is inadequate funding and lack of support from government and corporate organisations to ensure mass production of his medical equipment. It is for this reason he recently entreated President Akufo-Addo to establish a plant to manufacture basic medical and domestic equipment locally to strategically equip hospitals, clinics and other industries in Ghana and Africa as a whole, with simple tools to enhance health care delivery.
Now, part of the solution to African’s problems is here. Let the atheists and humanists, who appear to be patriotic and concerned with the economic development of Ghana and Africa as a whole, use their common sense to support and partner Ing. Wireko-Brobby to realise his vision for the development of Africa.
By James Quansah, Kumasi